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Mastering Color Manipulation: How to Change Subject Color in Photos Like a Pro

The ability to manipulate colors is a powerful skill that can transform an ordinary photo into a stunning work of art. One common challenge designers face is changing the color of a subject in a photo without affecting the surrounding colors. In this blog post, we'll explore the step-by-step process of achieving this effect using Adobe Photoshop, empowering you to unleash your creativity and elevate your design projects.



Understanding Color Adjustment Layers: Before diving into the process, let's discuss the concept of adjustment layers in Photoshop. Adjustment layers allow you to apply non-destructive edits to your photos, meaning you can make changes without altering the original image. This is crucial for maintaining flexibility and preserving the integrity of your design.

Step 1: Select the Subject Start by opening your image in Photoshop and selecting the subject you want to change the color of. Use the selection tool that best suits your needs, such as the Quick Selection Tool or the Pen Tool, to create an accurate selection around the subject.


Step 2: Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer With the subject selected, navigate to the "Adjustments" panel and click on the Hue/Saturation icon. This will create a new adjustment layer above your image. Alternatively, you can go to "Layer" > "New Adjustment Layer" > "Hue/Saturation."

Step 3: Adjust the Hue/Saturation Settings Once the adjustment layer is added, you'll see sliders for adjusting the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness. To change the color of the subject, simply move the Hue slider left or right until you achieve the desired color. You can also adjust the Saturation and Lightness to fine-tune the effect.

Step 4: Refine the Mask Since adjustment layers affect the entire image by default, you'll need to create a mask to isolate the effect to the subject. With the adjustment layer selected, click on the mask icon in the Layers panel to add a layer mask. Use a soft brush to paint over areas outside the subject, effectively hiding the color change from those areas.

Step 5: Fine-Tune as Needed Once the initial color change is applied, take some time to fine-tune the effect. You can adjust the opacity of the adjustment layer to control the intensity of the color change, or go back to the Hue/Saturation settings to make further adjustments to the color.


Mastering the art of changing subject color in photos opens up a world of creative possibilities in graphic design. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this blog post, you can confidently manipulate colors in your photos while maintaining control over the final result. Experiment with different colors and techniques to unleash your creativity and bring your design projects to life!


Contact us for a quote today at designs@digitalinkmilwaukee.com


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